Five Reasons You Should Care About The Rulings From The North Carolina Business Court Even Though The NC Court Of Appeals Says You Shouldn't

Five Reasons You Should Care About The Rulings From The North Carolina Business Court Even Though The NC Court Of Appeals Says You Shouldn't

The NC Court of Appeals said earlier this month in  Browne v. Thompson that the decisions of the Business Court have "no precedential value."  Being a big fan of the Business Court, that rankled me. And being the author of a blog which focuses on the Business Court, it caused me to question my reason for writing.

In the Browne opinion, which affirms an opinion from Judge Jolly granting a motion to dismiss the case, Judge Steelman of the COA dissed the Business Court at the same time he affirmed it.  Judge Steelman was scoffing at the Plaintiffs' reliance on several Business Court decisions in support of their unsuccessful appeal. He said:

The remaining cases cited by plaintiffs are decisions of the North Carolina Business Court. The Business Court is a special Superior Court, the decisions of which have no precedential value in North Carolina.

That was a strong statement. NO precedential value? Really?  Not even a little bit? So why should North Carolina lawyers care what the Business Court does (or why should they even bother reading this blog)?

Here are my top five reasons to disagree with Judge Steelman:

First, the Business Court is on the front line of business law issues in North Carolina. If you want to be up to date on corporate matters, you need to know what the Court is dealing with.  Disregard it at your peril, precedential or not

Second, the Court was formed, as stated by Rule 2.2 of the General Rules of Practice, in recognition of the "desirability of a state having a substantial body of corporate law that provides predictability for business decision making. Also, it is essential that corporations litigating complex business issues receive timely and well reasoned written decisions from an expert judge."  There's no predictability without precedent.

Read this article in its entirety on North Carolina Business Litigation Report, a blog for lawyers focusing on issues of North Carolina business law and the day-to-day practice of business litigation in North Carolina courts.

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  • 08-17-2012

I find myself unable to understand why an observation that opinions of trial courts do not bind appellate courts "rankled" you. Would you have been similarly "rankled" if the U.S. Supreme Court had said this about opinions of, say, the Ninth Circuit or the Southern District of New York? I seem to recall having this whole "precedential" thingee explained pretty clearly during my first week in law school.

  • 08-15-2014

It is always interesting to see what appellate advocacy and business courts say. I would never dismiss a ruling like this. It is interesting to me that they want to keep this so quiet.

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